The premise of the peace process is that disputes should be resolved through negotiations. This is exactly the path Israel has pursued. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called for direct talks with the Palestinians, he has frozen settlement construction and he has taken a number of confidence-building steps including removing checkpoints.
The Palestinians, however, have never accepted this most basic principle of coexistence and remain unwilling to engage in direct talks. The answer to complaints that Israel is not withdrawing far enough or fast enough should be more negotiations, more confidence-building measures and more demonstrations of a desire to live together without using violence. By contrast, the Palestinian Authority is engaging in a variety of activities that demonstrate an unwillingness to live in peace and that undermine confidence. Here are just a few examples:
- In a lecture in Ramallah, Nabil Shaath called for the expulsion of Israel from the UN and a push to undermine Israel’s ties to the EU (Jerusalem Post, May 19, 2010).
- PA prime minister Salam Fayyad promotes the boycott of Israeli goods in the territories and took part in a public burning of Israeli products manufactured in Judea and Samaria (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 27, 2010).
- PA Economic Minister Dr. Hassan Abu Libda urged Italy to boycott Israeli goods when an Italian delegation, led by Italy’s Foreign Ministry, came to the territories (Maan News, February 19, 2010).
- On February 15, the PA Cabinet voted to ban all Israeli products manufactured in Israeli settlements from areas under PA control (American Task Force, February 18, 2010).
- In May 2010, Salam Fayyad contacted the leaders of OECD member countries and lobbied to block Israel’s entry into the OECD (Israel National News, May 9, 2010).
- Fayyad has also incited violence in the West Bank by encouraging youth to confront Israel forces at the separation fence (Jerusalem Post, March 1, 2010).
- The PA has also encouraged Israel-bashing at international forums such as the UN and the Human Rights Council. (Haaretz, December 11, 2008).
As has so often been the case, the Palestinians seem determined to prove to the people of Israel they have no interest in peace. Given these recent behaviors, which followed a five-year Palestinian-instigated war that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Israeli civilians, and a three-year rocket barrage on southern Israel, is it any wonder that Israelis are reticent to make any additional concessions that would put these Palestinian leaders within Qassam rocket-firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport?